Video shows moments after RCMP shooting death of Abraham Natanine

WARNING: This post contains graphic content


A still from video posted to social media shows a police officer standing with his hands out in after the RCMP shooting death of Clyde River's Abraham Natanine. Ottawa police confirm the video is part of their investigation.

Video posted to social media shows the tragic seconds after Nunavut RCMP shot and killed a Clyde River man on May 5, an incident currently being investigated by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS).

Family have identified the man as 31-year-old Abraham Natanine.

The video was livestreamed as the incident happened by Natanine’s common-law partner, who APTN is not identifying.

It was posted on social media on June 15.

It has since been taken down.

The video begins with a police officer inside someone’s home kneeling beside a motionless man, who is not facing the camera.

There is a dark stain on the rug to the man’s left. An unidentifiable small black object is in front of him.

Natanine’s partner shouts “Abraham!” as the camera moves on to another officer.

The officer gestures with his hands out to his sides and says something inaudible.

The camera turns back to the other officer who stands up. He holds what looks like handcuffs.

Natanine’s partner shouts, “Brian! What’s your name? What’s your name?”

The officer on the left comes over and one of them says something that sounds like, “Roll him over, we’ve got to get him to a clinic.”

APTN is publishing the video with permission from Natanine’s partner, who did not want to be interviewed for this story, and his father Jerry Natanine.

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Video shows moments after RCMP shooting death of Abraham Natanine

The clip closely matches events described in a 90-word RCMP press release from May 6.

RCMP said they “responded to a disturbance at a residence in the community” shortly after 11 p.m. local time on May 5.

“While at the residence, an officer became involved in a use of force situation and discharged their firearm. A 31-year-old man from Clyde River was immediately transported to the Health Centre and was pronounced deceased.”

The release said the OPS was called into investigate.

OPS conducts third-party investigations of major incidents involving Nunavut RCMP under a memorandum of understanding.

It currently has six open investigations, including this one.

APTN contacted OPS with a detailed list of questions.

A spokesperson refused to comment but confirmed that OPS has a copy of the video.

“At this time, the Ottawa Police Service will not discuss the details surrounding the incident, as this is an ongoing investigation,” wrote Const. Amy Gagnon in an email.

“However, we can confirm that we are aware of the existence of the video and have a copy of it. It is part of the evidence for the investigation.”

In the past, people have questioned the effectiveness of these investigations.

A 2017 Nunavut Justice Department report examined this issue and conducted a review of “different police oversight mechanisms to identify options that would better suit Nunavut.”

The report was filed as evidence in Federal Court in October 2019 as part of a proposed class-action against RCMP in the territories and obtained by APTN.

The introduction cites “the general concern that a police force should not investigate another police force.”

On June 5, Nunavut’s justice minister committed to creating a civilian-led investigative agency, over three years after the review.

Both the RCMP news release and the video leave many unanswered questions.

It’s not clear what happened that led to the shooting, whether Natanine was under arrest, whether the officers have been removed from duty, or what the disturbance was that brought police into the residence.

No charges have been laid and officers involved have not been identified.

The video comes on the heels of numerous incidents of police violence against Indigenous people.

Online Journalist / Ottawa

Brett is a member of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in Ontario. He grew up in Ottawa where he obtained an English degree from Carleton University. Brett is a creative writer, poet, and journalist. He joined the Ottawa bureau for APTN News in December 2019 as a digital reporter.